Archive for the ‘Ballard’ Category

Deborah’s Pies

May 12, 2017

It’s farmer’s market season once again, and why not start with Ballard (my personal favorite, along with the U-District market)? There were all my old favorites – Soda Jerk, Pete’s Toffee, Sweet Caroline… and a new vendor (well, new to me) called Deborah’s Pies.


Deborah was there, in the flesh, selling a variety of both sweet and savory pies. I appreciated the range of flavors, not to mention the different size options. I went with two small pies – strawberry rhubarb, and marionberry.


The pies came with specific reheating instructions, which I followed to the letter and served with ice cream. The verdict? Marionberry was the winner (the rhubarb pie was a little runny). We did feel the crusts could have been flakier, but overall, not a bad slice of pie!


Hood Famous Bakeshop

February 26, 2017

When you’re too much of a foodie to eat at the Cheesecake Factory but you still want that creamy, tangy goodness (and you’re willing to deal with parking in Ballard), check out Hood’s Famous Bakeshop. Instead of Snickers and Pumpkin flavors, you’ll fall in love with more interesting Filipino flavors like ube and guava. The shop itself is little more than a hole-in-the-wall, so choose your cakes (mini size and up) and go. I went all mini for a family dinner:


The red top left is the white chocolate guava, the orange next to it is mango, the purple is the ube (purple yam), the green is coconut pandan (a green leaf used in southeast Asia for flavor), and the brown is Vietnamese coffee. The big hits were the coffee and the mango, but I preferred the ube which is what Hood is famous for. It doesn’t taste like yam – the flavor is pretty close to vanilla – but the ube gives the cake a lovely texture (the color ain’t bad either). If you’re throwing a summer dinner party for out-of-town guests (or, for that matter, a winter dinner party for Seattleites) these will be big hit. The ube cake is also sold at local grocery stores so there’s really no excuse for going to the Cheesecake Factory (unless, like me, you really like that Oreo Cheesecake!).


February 10, 2017

Cute coffee shops are one of the reasons I love living in Seattle. Toast, with free wifi, spacious work space, and excellent espresso, takes things a step further with freshly made waffles and gourmet toast. I was more excited for the waffles.  They have all sorts of fancy toppings, and you can mix and match as desired. I got half of a s’mores waffle:


Perfectly crisp waffle, a little toasted marshmallow in each square, fudge drizzled over the whole thing, and graham cracker crumbs to make it perfect. It was the perfect dessert for breakfast, but I didn’t stop there. I got another half with cream cheese, jam, and whipped cream – they call it The Tart.


I actually liked this one even better. The cream cheese gave it a nice tang and the jam was like a complex syrup. I’d like to come back and try the toast – or the BLT waffle. Worth the fight for parking in Ballard!

Sweet Mickey’s

November 5, 2016

Fudge is something we equate with summer, or at least I do. Boardwalks and beach towns, the chocolate melting onto your fingers, eating the brick of fudge you meant to bring back to friends… But this year, I found my fudge fix in the fall – specifically in a lovely candy store in Ballard called Sweet Mickey’s. They are a candy shop that not only sells all kind of fun candy, they also make their own amazing fudge.


The fudge flavor of the season was pumpkin, and (a bit skeptically) I bought a small piece of that along with salted chocolate caramel and chocolate walnut.


The pumpkin (center) was easily the best. Laced with a layer of caramel, the pumpkin flavor shone without tasting like a candy version of a pumpkin spiced latte. Texture was fudgy yet delicate, with the caramel layer adding gooey complexity. Runner up was the salted caramel – the fudge itself was dense and the flavors completed one another perfectly. The chocolate walnut was also good – just not as interesting as the other two. Overall, this was some of the best fudge I’ve ever had – my only mistake was not buying more of it.

Rodeo Donut

June 24, 2015

Doughnuts have always been one of my (many) guilty food pleasures – growing up, my dad would treat me to a doughnut from Dunkin’ Donuts every Sunday. I decided to treat myself a couple Sundays ago to a more gourmet treat of the fried dough persuasion a doughnut from the Cupcake Royale “pop-up” Rodeo Donut. I love Cupcake Royale – not only do they do excellent cupcakes and ice cream, now they do craft, small batch doughnuts even non-hipsters can love. Because what’s not to like about a whiskey maple bacon doughnut??


I’ve had less-awesome versions of bacon desserts – the bacon is mushy or the proportions are off. This one was just right – bacon was the correct texture and lended flavor without being gimmicky. Perfect if you love the sweet and salty combo… or the doughnut bacon combo. For something a little different, I got the Rodeo Queen:


This was a filled doughnut, the inside being their homemade blueberry jam. The doughnut had a lovely, bright lemon flavor that livened up the blueberry filling. These people know their way around a doughnut… I’ll be back for more flavors (go different days for different kinds of doughnuts).

We All Scream…

June 18, 2015

I now count 5 ice cream parlors in walking distance to my Cap Hill apartment: Bluebird, Molly Moon’s, Cupcake Royale, Old School Frozen Custard and now Kurt Farm Shop. I’ve had their cheese before – OMG YUM – so I was pretty psyched when they opened a dairy stand in the new Chophouse Row site. They do the cow raising themselves (no, not in Cap Hill – the farm is on Vashon) and the ice cream is pretty unique in both flavors and texture. I got a scoop of the chocolate and a scoop of the salted plum to eat together.


The flavors played nicely together but the chocolate was the real standout (I sampled a few other flavors as well). Rich, but strangely not very creamy, this had a deep chocolate flavor. Next time I’ll probably try it with the strawberry, but in any case that’s going to be my go-to flavor.

Speaking of micro-ice-creameries, I was lucky to come across Balleywood Creamery, usually found at the Ballard Farmer’s Market. The owner happened to be stationed on 15th Ave in Cap Hill for a day, and I happened to be walking down the street wanting ice cream (not an unusual state of affairs for me).


The owner was super friendly and I was intrigued by the flavor combinations that featured more savory ingredients  – case in point, the strawberry ice cream was chock full of basil, balsamic, and black pepper (and far better than the Molly Moon’s balsamic strawberry flavor).


I also bought the coconut milk lime flavor because if it’s vegan it must be healthy… right? It was amazing, as were all the flavors. I wish this little cart would catch some buzz, because it’s way under-hyped and just… really really good.



February 7, 2014

It’s always ice cream season in Seattle nowadays, although I admit the Jan-Feb stretch is pushing it a bit. But I happened to be near Parfait in Ballard and wanted to stop by because I never seem to catch their ice cream truck. Their parlor is light, spacious, and welcoming:



Parfait believes in high-quality, local ingredients and balances tried-and-true flavors with more experimental varieties.  I had butter toffee crunch (they make their own toffee) but was intrigued by flavors like Cinnamon Stick and Pumpkin Pie. In addition, they had some interesting frozen creations that went beyond simple ice cream:



If you can’t tell from the photo, those are homemade push pops and gourmet ice cream sandwiches. I wish we had this ice cream truck when I was a kid!

Ballard Market

August 4, 2013

The Ballard Farmers Market is one of my favorites. Veraci Pizza, mini-donuts, and plenty of amazing produce.  Not to mention my two dessert stops last week: Pete’s Perfect Toffee and Deborah’s Pies.  Pete’s Toffee was indeed perfect – and I have a very high standard for toffee.



There were quite a few flavors to choose from, including spicy chili, coconut, and espresso, but I went with the – you guessed it – dark chocolate. Rich, a little salty, crunchy, buttery, and ohhhh just perfect. He also sells containers of crumbled toffee, perfect for an ice cream topping.

Second stop was Deborah’s Homemade Pies. I went straight for the strawberry rhubarb mini-pie, which I took home, warmed up, and ate with ice cream…



Loved it!! Crust was buttery deliciousness and the filling was tart (the way rhubarb should be!) but perfect with the ice cream. They had all kinds of pies, in several of different sizes. I’d go back to try a peach pie!


Hot Cakes

January 7, 2013

Strolling through Ballard one recent evening after dinner (actually, walking quickly, hunched over from cold and rain is more accurate), I came across Hot Cakes, which I had been meaning to try for some time.  They are known for their small (but very rich) cakes sold in mason jars, which you take home and bake yourself (they also bake them there at the store and serve them up with ice cream). The store was very crowded, and I soon figured out why…


Turns out they make a variety of “boozy” milkshakes that are stunningly delicious! I got the Drunken Sailor (vanilla ice cream, whiskey, peanut butter, and caramel) and immediately knew I’d found a winner.  The flavors did so well together, and I could tell all the ingredients (whiskey included) were of high quality.  I also had the warm cookie with ice cream, which was good but skippable compared with the other offerings.


And I dutifully bought a hot cake to take home with me for later, which came in very handy when I was hit with a chocolate craving. It doesn’t get much more chocolatier than this… the cakes are so rich and intense I recommend splitting one, even though they’re small. Or be like me and quietly keep it all to yourself…


Fresh Flours

October 15, 2011

With locations in Ballard and Phinney Ridge, Fresh Flours is yet another excellent choice for your croissant and coffee (they serve Stumptown). I chose the Phinney Ridge location so I could park, although I’ve heard that the Ballard spot is better.

Fresh Flours has been around for several years, and competes with Besalu and Honore for best croissants in North Seattle.  They also have just a touch of Japanese influence, and offer green tea flavors in some of their baked goods. I started out with a coffee and a quiche and was quite pleased (after having several bad quiche experiences, I’ve now had two good ones in a row). I moved on to the chocolate chip cookie, just because it looked so good:

Not too crunchy nor too chewy, and plenty of chips in this one! It wasn’t the best chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever had, but it was satisfying and just fine for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Since I’d heard good things about their croissants I decided to take a chocolate one home with me for the next morning’s breakfast.

It was surprisingly good, considering that it was a day old by the time I ate it. The top came off in large (but thinly layered) flakes. Even after sitting a day, the dough was still moist and after a quick zap in the microwave, the chocolate was gooey. A great way to start my week!